Employment Advice? Big cry for help!

Hi everyone, have got myself in a horrible situation and is turning me into a rambling nut bag on top of my CLL! A bit of history first to explain my situation.....I was made redundant after 10 years last year and had to seek new employment. I was initially very honest about my diagnosis and declared this on applications when asked.

However I found that even although companies were shouting about their disability inclusion policy I did not get 1 interview. I am young, have experience with well known international companies, a solid work history, good qualifications and couldn't even get a job as a part time cleaner.

I then decided to omit the fact I have CLL and the interviews started.

A company that had previously stated I did not have the relevant experience or skills offered me a position on the spot. I felt completely discriminated against but took the temp job as I needed employment.

I then applied for a permanent role with another company, I did not declare I had CLL and signed the pre employment medical declaration that I did not have any existing medical conditions.

I obviously realise this was dishonest but given my experiences I truly felt I had no option. I secured a role within this company and in week 4 of the 2 month training I confessed to a manager what I had done. This was an unprompted admission but I just felt terrible for lying to my employer. I was advised there would be a hearing and it would be dealt with asap. I have now been working for this company for nearly 5 months and I have just been informed I have to attend a Disciplinary Hearing with the Director and have been advised off the record that I will most likely be sacked for Gross Misconduct and Fraud for Personal Gain.

I am worried about so many aspects of this, future employers approaching this company for a reference, do I not disclose to future employers about the CLL, will I be honest and risk not being employed???

So unsure what to do, my health is most definitely suffering with the stress of all this also.

Any suggestions, ideas???

Thanks for taking the time to read this, Good Health to you all

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11 Replies

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  • Hi Tiny Tattooed Toes, I'm sorry you find yourself is this difficult position. I'm no expert in employment law and practice so please feel free to disregard my reply! Just looking at this from a pragmatic perspective, I think in your position I'd consider biting the bullet and resigning now, before the disciplinary hearing, especially if the outcome already looks fairly certain. Waiting may only be delaying the inevitable, and the company can later hardly say in response to a reference enquiry that you were sacked for Gross Misconduct if the hearing had not been held at the point you left.

    Do you have trade union that would know about the process and could advise you?

    Personally I wouldn't volunteer any information about having CLL when applying for jobs, until and unless you're specifically asked. Not being truthful if and when you are asked, however, does leave you open to the consequences.

  • Hi Tinytatooed Toes,

    You must be worried sick about this and be fearful for the outcome. Can I suggest that you urgently need some professional advice as this is a complex area relating to disability discrimination and employment legislation. I'm posting you a link and at the bottom is a list of useful advice agencies specialising in these areas. The Disability Law Service would be a good place to start. I assume you're in the UK?

    You will be aware that once you have a diagnosis of cancer, you become automatically registered as a disabled person under the terms of the Equality Act 2010 which means that you also have protection under the Disability Discrimination Act.

    I totally understand why you ended up being untruthful on your application form because whilst employers know the disability tune very well, many will never dance to it as long as they are trading! You know it was foolhardy but having been discriminated in the past, who could blame you?

    Issue is, what to do now? You are not actually required to declare your disability to a prospective employer and they, by law, are not necessarily entitled to ask. Except for certain reasons to do with reasonable adjustments etc. which are explained in this link.

    You've demonstrated your ability to do the job over 5 months and they'll be using the dishonesty card against you now not your disability (even though that's what this is really about!). Seems to me you were right to assume they would discriminate. However, they may not and the Hearing could result in a warning etc. However, as you acknowledge, it may be more serious.

    I think the crux of this is whether they were within their rights to start with to ask you this question. You're in a difficult position having lied, but my 'defence' would be to cite that you were not obliged to provide this information in the first place and by asking you, you felt disadvantaged from the outset.

    But you need legal advice on this. I hope the link and contacts can help you. Good luck.

    dls.org.uk/advice/factsheet...

    Newdawn x

  • Employment laws vary widely from country to country...it would help to know which country you are in?

  • Hi All, I'm in Scotland, UK. The role is office based, but within a healthcare organisation. Thanks for advice so far

  • Hi, Fellow-Scot, TinyTattooedToes. Just to say I'm so sorry for all the worry which has been caused to you. You definitely need representation at any tribunal and I think your advocate should not be an employee of the organisation for which you work. Be prepared! With the mere mention of the word 'leukaemia' all kinds of assumptions are made about us. Ridiculous and so unfair. Thinking of you and hoping you get proper representation by an informed person who can point out that you are really a victim of groundless prejudice.

    Gartshore x

  • I think you should get appropriate advice from someone qulified in this area and try to ave them present at the hearing, assuming you wish to progress this. The alternative is to leave. That choice is personal and as i dont know how i'd react i cant comment.

    I think most companies operate some form of 'probationary' period, were you still in that when you told them?

    However, if they are in healthcare they should be morally ashamed of their 'strong-arm' off the record comments.

    The doc link Newdawn posted mkes interesting reading, so if i read it correct asking about any disability is no longer legal?

    Best advice i can offer, which is obvious anyway, is to sit down and document everything you can, dates, times, comments etc, anything that might be relevant going forwards, anything that might help you.

    Rob

  • Too new a member of the union to get a rep to accompany me but took advice from ACAS. Going to attend the hearing and represent myself. If it is dismissal will try to negotiate a more positive reference due to mitigating circumstances. Will let u all know how it goes on Wednesday. Fingers crossed for me!

  • Good luck on Wednesday, go armed with all the facts about CLL. We have to educate people about the peculiar nature of CLL as opposed to Acute Leukemia - the childhood leukemia that gets all the attention and everyone associates all Leukemia with.

    I never tell anyone now that I have CLL until I'm absolutely certain of how they'll react. CLL is so different in each person and a quarter of all people who are diagnosed with it, will not be effected. However it is incurable and we'll die with/from it, but you can say the same about life itself.

    An unfashionable, distasteful statement: we are all going to die. I have found so many people are in denial, not wanting to acknowledge their own mortality which is why they over react to being told someone else has cancer.

  • TTT, I wish you well for Wednesday. I wish you were taking a supporter but if I'm honest sometimes that can only seem more provocative.

    I'd try to be calm and admit that you did wrongly declare but you did so because you understood you weren't obliged to declare your disability (they won't realise you're eligible for registration as disabled and having conducted these hearings, I can tell you authorities are nervous about disability discrimination claims).

    Explain that as you're well and knew you could do the job competently, you wanted to be given a chance and hope that your work with them has demonstrated that.

    This allegation of 'fraud for personal gain' is frankly outrageous. Since when has it been a crime to offer a fair days work for a fair days pay in any country?'

    Ask if they would consider giving you a chance to prove your worth and ask specifically if they have any problems with your work record so far (because none have been pointed out to you). Ask them if they have any problems employing 'disabled' people. Make them focus on what they're doing too.

    Please contact the number I gave you for advice and if the worst come to the worst, it may be necessary to go to an industrial tribunal to test out whether they have done right by you. Regardless of your wrongdoing.

    Stay strong and good luck!

    Newdawn x

  • Hi TTT, seems you have had a lot of input to your question I hope you are able to gain relevant qualified advice for Wednesday, a few thoughts

    Have you considered drafting a written statement to read out at the hearing to get your points across? A way of making sure you get across what you wish raised and addressed when you may be understandably nervous. You can request that it can become part of the record of the hearing.

    Following advise of the hearing have you been provided with a copy of the organisation’s disciplinary policy and procedures? If yes, have a look at it to satisfy yourself that the organisation has acted in accordance with its own guidelines in dealing with this issue. You can then decide if you feel it hasn't and whether or not you wish to raise this during the hearing. You would need to approach this carefully as you do not wish to antagonise them by bluntly telling them that they have contravened their own policy with dealing with your case. It may be sufficient to question any deviations from their procedure that you've noticed thereby letting them know that they haven’t followed their rules.

    If they haven’t provided you with a copy of their disciplinary policy and procedures, make sure you request one.

    Decide what outcome you are trying to achieve i.e. persuading them to keep you on based on your good work record, as Newdawn suggests ask if they will give you another chance to prove your value to the organisation.

    If this is the outcome you’re looking to achieve decide what you will do if you don’t get this, Try to plan your strategy to ensure you receive a satisfactory reference following a departure.

    Wishing you good luck

    Nick

  • ***** UPDATE *****

    Just to let you all know, I received word about my disciplinary hearing this morning. Given a final written warning, so my job is safe. So relieved :) Thanks for all the advice, it's much appreciated!!

    Good Health Everyone :) xx

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